May 29, 2008
Save Money with Public Transportation:
I spent many years riding the bus as part of my daily commute during which time I saved thousands of dollars not just on gas but also on parking and wear and tear on my car. In major urban areas in the US people are used to hopping on a bus, but throughout suburbia many people are clueless about the ins and outs of public transportation. They’ve never had to use it and can be a bit intimidated by learning the system. Sure it sounds simple, just catch the bus, but it’s a whole new experience and people tend to shy away from things they’re no familiar with.
Take a Trial Run:
The best way to get comfortable with a bus route is to ride it on a day when you’re not in a hurry and there is no schedule breathing down your neck. Most of us make a few mistakes the first time we try something, making a mistake is a big deal if you’re in a hurry but if you have time to spare a mistake isn’t such a big deal so take a trial run of the bus. Get to the bus stop 10 minutes early the first time to get a feel whether the bus runs early, on time, or late. Drivers try and meet the schedule but my experience has been that buses can come up to 5 minutes before or 5 minutes after the listed time due to traffic and other variables. You can also ask the people waiting for the bus whether it runs early, late, or right on time.
Get on the Right Bus:
Most buses will have the route number and the final destination displayed. Make sure you check it before you get on, don’t assume because a bus is stopping for you that it’s the one you want. Different routes can share the same stops, just check with the driver the first time you get on. Tell them where you’re headed and ask if it’s the right bus. It might sound silly but don’t be afraid to ask. I’ve seen people who are obviously riding the bus for the first time, too intimidated by the new environment to ask questions. They end up getting on the wrong bus and going to the wrong place simply because they didn’t take 30 seconds to ask before getting on.
Combining Driving and Riding:
Of course riding the bus won’t eliminate the need for spending money on gas. Some days you’ll have to drive in because you need to get there early, leave late, or maybe run errands after work. Depending on where you live you may also have to drive partway into town to a park and ride, parking your car in a lot designed for commuters then catching the bus from there. Even though you won’t eliminate your gas bill completely, riding public transportation can drastically cut the amount you spend on gas. Combine that with strategies such as getting cash back with one of the best gas credit cards and gas rebates from grocery stores and the prices at the pump won’t take quite the same bite out of your paycheck.
* Submitted by Chad Lopes